All 4 major U.S. credit cards ditch signatures with eye on biometrics. Beginning this month, four of the largest credit card networks in the United States no longer require signatures to complete transactions — a move driven by evolving security and technology.
American Express, Discover and Mastercard gave merchants the option to stop requesting handwritten authentication for credit and debit card transactions April 13, while Visa implemented the policy the following day.
Terms for the change will vary. American Express eliminated the requirement for all its cards globally, while Visa lifted the signing requirement only in the United States and Canada for payment systems that read chip cards. Mastercard ended the requirement exclusively in North America, while Discover offers the choice in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean nations.
While each credit card company eliminated the signature, individual retailers also have the choice to keep collecting signatures or stop.
Several major retail chains, including Walmart, have sought to end the longtime practice because those sales must be processed in a way that takes more time and costs twice as much as transactions that use a PIN.
“Having to sign a receipt can be a hassle for customers and is not necessary to prevent fraud at the point of sale,” said Walmart Senior Vice President and Assistant Treasurer Mike Cook.
In place of signatures, credit card companies are now transitioning to other security methods — some new, some familiar.
Chip technology was widely adopted in the United States in 2015, when major credit card networks began providing customers with cards embedded with a readable computer chip, or EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa.
Embedded microchips in EMV cards contain encrypted information, making it more difficult for a card to be copied or counterfeited.
Information from EMV transactions is also less valuable to hackers, as each purchase generates a unique code — unlike the electronic data generated from the traditional magnetic strips. All 4 major U.S. credit cards ditch signatures with eye on biometrics